August 16, 2011

Final Day of Young Mercy Leaders Pilgrimage to Baggot St., Dublin

Friday August 12th has dawned and we have arrived at the third day of this fantastic Young Mercy Leaders Pilgrimage. Even though we had a very late night last night due to the talent show, everyone arrived ‘bright eyed and bushy tailed’ this morning and eager to launch into the day.

The morning began with a quiet, reflective prayer time led by Sr. Gloria Hesse – you could have heard a pin drop in the hall as 150 young people prayed silently and entered into the quiet of God.

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Attracta Tighe rsm, facilitator for the Pilgrimage, then introduced Sheila Carney rsm who gave the keynote address. Sheila, a professor at Carlow University, Pittsburg, PA, gave an inspiring talk entitled ‘Leading from a Merciful Space’. She talked about the leadership style of Catherine McAuley and outlined some of the outstanding qualities of leadership which Catherine embodied.

Sheila told us that it is well documented that Catherine regularly consulted her sisters in community and talked about any decisions which needed to be made. She never placed herself above her sisters but acknowledged each one and all felt that their contribution was significant.

Sheila then colourfully described a series of incidents from the story of Catherine’s life as a Sister of Mercy, to show how she interacted with her sisters and each story illustrated another aspect of Catherine’s leadership – her patience, her expert guidance, her interest in her sisters, her sensitivity, her humour and her sense of fun. Catherine often wrote humorous poems instead of just giving advice to her sisters and this ensured that the advice was taken in a good way.

Click here to download the full text of Sr. Sheila Carney's presentation. 

After a break in which some energetic hip hop dancing took place, Sheila gave the participants some quiet time to ponder questions in relation to their own leadership. She then facilitated a discussion on leadership in Mercy schools and colleges and responded to the young people’s observations on leadership.

After a short break, some participants went to a variety of breakout sessions while others were taken on a tour of Catherine’s house, which is now Mercy International Centre. Everyone had a delicious lunch at some point during this time also and enjoyed a break to recharge their batteries


The breakout sessions on offer today included many of those which took place on the previous two days plus others:

‘A Good Cup of Tea’ led by Margaret Farrell
‘Keeping Mercy Alive Throughout our Lives’ led by Mary Jo Pierantozzi
‘Finding and Creating Mercy On-line to Make a Difference’ led by Adele Howard rsm
‘Ways to enhance your prayer’ led by Gloria Hesse rsm
‘Mercy Beyond Borders’ led by Marilyn Lacey rsm

The schedule for this pilgrimage has been very full and all efforts have been made to ensure that the young people have the best experience possible.



At 3pm everyone assembled once again in the school hall and had a period of quiet reflection time followed by a discussion.

How can you see what you have reflected on, being put into practice, both individually and at your school/university?

There was an extended period of animated discussion as the young people discussed this question and shared ideas. Afterwards the group was invited to come into their own personal space once again and invited to commit to one thing which they might do on their return to their own school or university. To facilitate this decision, each school and university group was given an opportunity to meet in groups in various places around the campus.


Fr. Ciaran O'Carroll presided at the final Mass of the pilgrimage.  During the ceremony, each young person received a copy of the Gospel of Luke and were encouraged to go out and live authentic lives, based on the values of the Gospel.

Read report of the First Day of the Young Mercy Leaders Pilgrimage.
Read report of the Second Day of Young Mercy Leaders Pilgrimage.

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